The Graduate

The Little Vaquero isn’t so little anymore.

THE NEPHEW I once called The Little Vaquero graduated from Middle School yesterday. After the ceremony, we went out to lunch in a fancy place.

I have quite a few nephews, it being Mexico where people breed like bunnies, but this guy is the one I see most often, far more frequently than the others. He is my sister-in-law’s son, the woman who owns the coffee shop, and he was adopted fresh out of the hospital in nearby Santa Clara over 15 years ago.

bebeThis is how he looked back then. I took this photo as he sat on his new mother’s bed. Cute, huh?

The Vaquero’s had quite a few ups and downs in his still-short life. One of the worst parts was his father shooting himself to death in a sympathy play that went wrong about seven years ago.

It happened after his mother tossed her spouse out on the street due to philandering.

After that, the boy had just his mother, no father and no brothers or sisters. He and his mother quarrel a lot. She’s not well suited for motherhood. He and my child bride, however, are very close.

He’s had some unusual ambitions. For a good while, he wanted to be a priest. That notion’s been shelved, thank God, and a few months ago he announced he wants to be a model (!). My wife suspects that ambition is based in part on his idea that it’s a career that doesn’t require any studying, plus he combs his hair a lot and is fastidious about his clothes.

He does not like to study.

I doubt he’ll be a priest, and I doubt he’ll be a model. Since he’s not fond of studying, it’s almost certain he’ll follow in his mother’s footsteps as the owner of the coffee shop that will land in his lap. And that’s okay as long as he continues the custom of not charging me for café americano negro.

20 thoughts on “The Graduate

  1. Some kids are late bloomers, intellectually. Unfortunately, some others just never flower.

    I started grade 9 at the age of 12, having been kicked into grade one after a week in kindergarten. I cruised through grades 1-8 having never done any homework, or learning how to study. Then I was expelled from high school in two different provinces. It wasn’t until I was about 23 that I had any interest in learning again.

    I hope your nephew develops some interest that he finds worthy of using his brain. Although my life turned around, and I became fairly successful, I now look back and wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t wasted eight years of my youth being an idiot.

    Give him all the encouragement you can. Obviously, he sees the life you and your wife have. He just needs to want more than to settle for an existence and work for a life.


    1. Kris: We encourage him. I doubt it has much effect. Time will, as they say, tell.

      As for your wasting eight years of your life, you’re an amateur, a piker. I wasted 50.


      1. Felipe: I wasted years as an adult too, marking time in jobs I didn’t like, etc., but the years from 14-22 are the ones I wish I had done differently. All in all, I’d say my life turned out well enough that most people would like to trade. But that doesn’t stop me from complaining.

        Happy Canada Day 🇨🇦! Happy Election Day!


        1. Kris: It’s Canada Day? Well, felicitáciones. And yes, it’s our election day, and we two will be heading out today to vote against the nincompoop AMLO. We’re hoping that this evening will deliver him the same surprise that Hillary got on her last election day. That would be soooo fun.


  2. Well, sir, at least you have zeroed in on the most important outcome, the cafe americano negro.

    The kid may surprise you and everyone else, including himself. Many stumble or fall into successes nobody predicts.

    He has my best wishes, as do you.


    1. Ricardo: Gracias. As for how the kid will turn out, we will know in time. There are other elements in this tale that I cannot write about here in the open.


  3. Thanks for making me feel more ancient. I can’t believe it’s the same boy who was running around only about 3 feet tall just a while ago. Meanwhile, we old folks seem to lose height each season.


    1. Tancho: As you no doubt have noticed, the older you get the faster time flies. As for height, I often wonder if I’m still 6′, 3″. I have not measured myself in decades. I imagine I’ll just remain in ignorance on that one. I’m still far taller than most Mexicans, just likely less so.


  4. Maybe he would enjoy just reading books for entertainment. My grandson is 10, but he’s really into the young adult series books, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Don’t know if there is a Spanish version but there are others that surely are.


    1. Carole: I’m reasonably positive that he’s never read even one book not required by his school and not even those if he could dodge it somehow. Alas, he is, like most youth today, always got his nose stuck into a cell phone.


  5. Time flies. I remember meeting him when I met you in 2007, there on the Plaza Grande. I guess he was about four at the time. I hope he develops some more achievable career goal than being a model. Seems like that one would be an uphill struggle. But whatever he chooses, I wish him well.


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where our own career took some quixotic turns before landing right where it should have.


  6. I think it is great that he is letting his imagination flow … model? Maybe. Who knows. He has a lot of years to make any of those life-changing decisions. Maybe just learn how to make excellent coffee. Nothing wrong with that!


    1. Peggy: As I mentioned, the odds that he will just go with the flow, so to speak, and be a coffee house owner is huge. And, as you say, nothing wrong with that. As long as he doesn’t start charging me!


        1. Kim: Socialism is lousy in whatever manifestation. I don’t rank free coffee as socialism because the people in the next table were not forced to pay for my coffee.


  7. Cut the kid some slack. He may yet turn into something. What were Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and AMLO like when they were his age? When I watch my grandkids playing video games, I am pretty sure they are the ones who will sign the papers putting me in to the old folks’ home.

    Look out; it can happen to you too.


    1. Señor Gill: My nephew stands head and shoulders over the likes of Waters, Pelosi, Schumer and, especially, AMLO. He’s a good kid in spite of not wanting to study. And he wouldn’t put me in an old folks’ home … I think.


Comments are closed.